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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Punctuation Hodgepodge

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 9, 2014.

    Stylistically, I think the following are correct. Do you concur? No recasts, please. If not, how would you punctuate them?

    The event was for four and five year olds.

    five-, nine-, and twelve-inch pipes

    The event was for five to ten year olds.

    mid to late fifties

    low to mid seventies

    middle to upper class citizens

    Thank you.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've asked before and haven't gotten an answer yet... what are you calling 'recasts'?... do you mean 'rewording'?
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Rewording/recast . . . six of one, half a dozen of the other. Most use recast for rewording.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    M-W says that a recast is:
    1. to improve the form of by redoing; reconstruct: to recast a sentence
    So a "recast" and a "rewording" are synonymous.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I have a good time with your questions, @dillseed , but one thing is becoming very clear to me. With some exceptions, punctuation is largely in the eye of the beholder.

    I just looked up examples of compound words in the Webster's Compact Writers Guide, and guess what? There is no hard-and-fast rule about hyphenating them. Basically:

    Mainly clarity. Sometimes it's not clear what is meant, without the use of a hyphen. Webster's cites the example of wide body as a type of jet airplane, but then cites the confusion that could occur if you refered to "the operation of wide bodies." Basically, use the noodle.

    Another approach is to hyphenate all compounds that aren't in the dictionary. This would make the compound clear enough, but it would call undue attention to every one, peppering your writing with noticeable constructions. Basically, use the noodle.

    Another approach is to pattern your compounds after similar ones, and punctuate accordingly. This means you spend a lot of time trawling around looking for similar constructions. Basically, use the noodle.

    Basically, use the noodle, then. Do whatever makes sense, but strive for consistency as much as possible. That's my approach, anyway.

    I have no problem with any of your examples. The only one that reads awkwardly is the first one—and hyphens won't help. It's the "for four" that doesn't sound good. I'd "recast" that in some way, if I were writing it.
     
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  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most where?... you're the only one here [or anywhere else] i've ever noticed using the term...

    no disrespect intended, simply curiosity...
     
  7. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I've exchanged email correspondences with the late William A. Sabin, author of The Gregg Reference Manual, and he used it several times. So have responders on the Chicago Manual of Style forum. Recast and reword are one and the same. I'm sure that others on this forum are familiar with its usage in this context.

    P.S. William Sabin used two examples of mine in the eleventh edition before he passed. He stated via email that he was going to use them, and thanked me for "thinking outside the box." How's that for OCD? Nonetheless, my inextinguishable and unslakable thirst for knowledge knows ceaseless bounds! :)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    By the way, @dillseed, I really enjoy your posts.

    They've made me live with my dictionaries and my grammar books very close to hand, and I've just realised I don't own an easily usable version of a British dictionary at all. I've just ordered one. My husband has the huge 2-volume Oxford, complete with magnifying glass (!) but it's way too awkward for everyday use. I've been relying on my trusty Webster's, but since I live in the UK—and have been here long enough for the barriers between British and American spellings and usages to melt together in my brain—I think I need an English dictionary, too. So thanks for booting me up the backside.

    This is fun. I love learning that English is often in the eye of the beholder, and isn't quite as cut and dried as we're sometimes led to believe. It goes against the grain to accept this, sometimes, but I'm getting used to the idea.

    Okay, here's one for you. Is it correct usage to say 'bored of?' Instead of 'bored by,' or 'bored with?' I HATE the way 'bored of' has crept in. It just sounds ...wrong. WRONG, oh, so wrong. But is it wrong? Dunno. You're the guy to ask, I reckon. :)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  9. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Far from it—trust me!

    From oxforddictionaries.com

    Bored by, of, or with?

    Which of these expressions should you use: is one of them less acceptable than the others?

    Do you ever get bored with eating out all the time?

    Delegates were bored by the lectures.

    He grew bored of his day job.

    The first two constructions, bored with and bored by, are the standard ones. The third, bored of, is more recent than the other two and it’s become extremely common. In fact, the Oxford English Corpus contains almost twice as many instances of bored of than bored by. It represents a perfectly logical development of the language, and was probably formed on the pattern of expressions such as tired of or weary of.

    Nevertheless, some people dislike it and it’s not fully accepted in standard English. It’s best to avoid using it in formal writing.
     
  10. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I've heard that in Britain they're using commas/periods inside the quote marks—or, at least, it's trending in that direction. Britons are now adopting conventional punctuation and may be abandoning logical punctuation. Is there any validity to this?
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Not sure what you mean ...can you give an example?
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think he's talking about something like this:

    That sentence ends with the word "example." (inside)

    vs.

    That sentence ends with the word "example". (outside)
     
  13. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Yes.
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I do think the UK (and perhaps other regions) are starting to use US rules. The most obvious change is using " instead of ' for dialogue.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, the US rule to always put commas and periods inside " " [instead of outside, which was the UK rule], has taken root in the UK and is pretty much accepted there now, by most publishers and the reading public...
     

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